Syrian regime continue strikes on besieged Douma

Syrian regime continue strikes on besieged Douma
Shelling and air strikes on the last opposition territory in Eastern Ghouta continued on Saturday, with at least eight civilians killed in the first hours of bombing.
2 min read
07 April, 2018

Syria's regime renewed their shelling of the last opposition enclave in the Eastern Ghouta region on Saturday, with eight civilians killed in the first hours of bombing.

Strikes began again on the besieged opposition enclave on Friday with at least 40 civilians killed in a day of shelling and air strikes on Douma.

The bombing began as talks between regime and rebels were ongoing with fears now that Bashar al-Assad's forces could unleash a new military assault to take the Eastern Ghouta town.

Sources told AFP that the new strikes began without warning.

"All of a sudden, with no warning, the shelling starts. There were 20 strikes in 15 minutes," Mohammed, a medic, told AFP.

Eight civilians were killed in shelling early Saturday, while three people needed amputations.

Syrian state media said six civilians were killed when Jaish al-Islam fighters fired shells into Damascus.

Leading Jaish al-Islam commander Mohammed Alloush told AFP that the Syrian regime were to blame for the collapse of the talks.

"The talks were going well... Their only shared interests is the blood of civilians," he said. 

A week long ceasefire had been in place while Jaish al-Islam held talks on the possible withdrawal from Douma.

Syrian state media blamed Jaish al-Islam for refusing to hand over "hostages", saying the new assault was a bid to pressure the rebel group to hand them over.

All other opposition territories in Eastern Ghouta have been taken by the Syrian regime, using a combination of brutal bombing and agreements that saw rebel fighters and civilians leave their homes for other parts of Syria.

Jaish al-Islam have avoided taking part in the so-called "evacuation deals" and demanded that they be allowed to stay on in Douma as a "police force".

Agencies contributed to this story.